Great sobs filled Percy Weasley's ears. Sitting across from him was his younger brother George. He was asleep with his head in Angelina's Johnson's lap. Percy had been sent away by the Witches who were preparing his brother Fred's body for burial and he was mad about that as well as blaming himself for Fred's death.
"Hannah Abbott tells me it reminded her of a blasting curse. We're lucky we didn't lose you, George, and her too" she whispered as she bent over to kiss George's forehead.
"Funny I don't feel very lucky right now. Do you know what I was doing the last three years at the Ministry? Whatever they wanted! I worshipped Fudge, wishing I could be like him. Then Scrimigor came in. He didn't last long. He made too many enemies. I always did what I was told. The perfect employee. Then Pius Thickness took over. People were arrested right and left and what did I do? NOTHING!! How many were sent to Azkaban because of me?"
"Percy what you are guilty of was not thinking. You took everything at face value, blindly believing what you were told. Did you use the Imperious Curse on anyone, or force them to do things?" asked Angelina.
"No but I watched them do it!! I am just as guilty as any Death Eater!!! I have to turn myself in" Percy stated.
"Percy you must do what you think is right. Good luck" Angelina added as she watched him approach the head table.
Kingsley nudged Minerva as he saw Percy Weasley come up. "Here comes another one" she whispered.
"Excuse me Minister. Headmistress. Am I intruding?" he fearfully asked.
"Not at all Mr. Weasley. How can we help you?" Kingsley wondered. Several members of the Ministry had come up in the last hour to resign. He took it as a sign that they genuinely felt bad and persuaded each to stay.
"Sir I wish to tender my resignation and to turn myself in to the Aurors. Are you still the Head of that Department Sir?"
"Mr. Weasley right now I am the Head of almost every Department. But tell us please why are you resigning? Are you asking me to send you to Azkaban?" Kingsley gently asked.
"No Sir I am not. But I think you will find when you investigate that I deserve to be sent there" he replied. "I have stood aside and watched so many things happen that I did nothing to stop."
"Then if that is the case we are all going. Did you talk to your sister about what it was like here last year?" Minerva asked.
"No Headmistress I did not. I hope she is willing to tell the family about it when they return" he answered.
"We have all heard the stories about Harry. All the hardships he has faced, and the blame he shoulders as he loses friends and family. This last year I have finally understood him. Voldemort sent two Death Eaters here to teach and we were powerless. Students disappeared never to be seen again. Your sister led a resistance movement along with Neville, Luna, and others. They helped whenever they could but eventually had to hide themselves. You should be very proud of her."
"Thank you Headmistress. I know the family is."
Kingsley looked at Percy. Smart, knowledgeable, dependable. "Percy I experienced the same thing. I chose to go into hiding instead of staying at the Ministry. So I am to blame too because I was not there to try and stop it. Each of us is partially responsible, but it will be our actions going forward that we will be judged by. Please do the Headmistress and I a favor. We need to convene a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. The faculty too?" Kingsley asked Minerva who nodded yes " in 20 minutes. Your parents can help you identify the Order members. Also we need to have someone in charge out here while we are in the conference room."
"Perhaps Aberforth Dumbledore Sir? He was a very capable fighter" Percy responded, thinking he was being asked his opinion.
"Actually Percy Aberforth is a member and has been for many years. No I am thinking about someone else who can take charge if necessary. Augusta Longbottom might do it" replied Minerva. Kingsley nodded in agreement.
"Oh and Percy we want you to be there also" Kingsley stated.
"Me Sir? But why after all I said?" a startled Percy asked.
"Because I want my new Assistant to be there too." Kingsley waited a moment for this to sink in before continuing. "Percy I need people who I can trust, like you and your Father. As you said you have been there during all this so I will need your help discovering who of Voldemort's puppets remain. You can tell since you knew most of these people before who has had the imperious Curse on them, and who had their own agenda."
"Then Sir please start with Delores Umbridge. She hates all who are not pure bloods and sentenced many to Azkaban needlessly!!" Percy replied.
"Trust us Mr. Weasley Delores Umbridge was the first one apprehended after Voldemort died. Naturally she insisted she did nothing wrong, then Voldemort made her do it, and so on" Minerva laughed. "But do you want to know why you were chosen?" she asked as she leaned forward.
Percy shook his head no, still puzzled at his luck. "It's because you are a Weasley, that's why" she said as she leaned back. Again he was perplexed until it dawned on him. Even though he turned his back on them, his parents still treated him as family no matter what. He felt Minerva's arms, almost as strong as his Mother's wrap around him. "Now go tell your parents the good news!"
"Thank you both for this. I won't let you down." Percy strode away to the table his parents were now alone sitting at. Uncertain at his reception he waited until they noticed him, but his worries were gone as soon as his Mother and Father embraced him.
Minerva was smiling while she watched the Weasley Family reunion. She saw Molly overjoyed and Arthur clapping his hand on his son's back. Arthur waved indicating he would follow Kingsley's orders.
Next Percy located Neville's Gran. It wasn't hard to find her with the 'unique' hat she wore. It has taken quite a beating as everyone else had. "Mrs. Longbottom could I have a word with you please?"
"Of course Mr. Weasley. It's Percy isn't it? I must say I enjoyed seeing what you did to the former Minister. A stroke of genius turning him into a sea urchin! So tell me what can I do for you?" Augusta Longbottom wondered.
"The Minister and The Headmistress are about to go into a closed door meeting with the Order of the Phoenix and the Hogwarts staff. They are asking you to be here in charge in case anything unexpected happens" he requested.
"Percy please call me Augusta." She leaned around him and waved to the head table. "Please tell them there won't be any problems."
"Thank you Augusta. And Neville you should be proud too. I have never seen or heard anyone other than Harry stand up to Voldemort like that" Percy added.
Neville stood and shook Percy's hand unable to speak. Voldemort that night had brought his Army to the Castle with Hagrid forced to carry what he thought was Harry's dead body. Neville stood up to him refusing to change sides. Voldemort tried to set him on fire to kill him but Neville broke free and using the Sword of Gryffindor beheaded the snake Nagini, unknowingly helping to bring about Voldemort's eventual death.
"Percy we are all proud of my Grandson too. Now off you go to your meeting" Augusta replied as she hugged her Grandson yet again.
"Gran let me go check on my friends." Neville stepped away from his Grandmother and approached a table with Luna Lovegood, Hannah Abbott, and several other students. He motioned them to follow and they went further down to an empty table. Pulling out his enchanted DA coin he rubbed it, summoning all the other DA members. One by one they appeared joining their friends.
As they were arriving Luna waved her wand silently casting the 'mufallato' charm.
"Luna when did you start doing spells wordlessly?" Parvati Patil asked.
"Just before the Battle. I sat and thought about it a lot when I was captured" she replied.
"We knew they had you. Where was it?" Parvati's twin sister Padma wondered.
"Malfoy Manor. I was taken so my Father would stop publishing positive things about Harry. Mr. Olivander was there too. Voldemort would torture him to learn how to make wands."
"Who else was there?" Susan Bones asked.
"Just Mr. Olivander and I to start with. A couple of weeks ago Dean Thomas and a goblin named Griphook were brought in. Shortly after Harry and Ron were brought down into the dungeon. We could hear Hermione screaming upstairs. Bellatrix Lestrange was torturing her about something. Dobby the Elf helped us to escape but Bellatrix stabbed him in the back as he left with Harry and Ron." Luna's face, which normally didn't show much emotion grew hard. "It was because of that and seeing Harry's body that Hermione and I attacked Bellatrix. I have never been so mad in my life! Ginny came up next to us. You should have seen her face. It had no emotion at all!! She kept firing curse after curse at the witch. Hermione and I had all we could do to defend her. Fortunately her Mom stepped in before Ginny got seriously hurt."
"Speaking of Dean has anyone seen him?" Seamus Finnigan inquired. Dean was his best friend.
"Not since earlier. We heard a loud argument out there" Michael Corner said gesturing over his shoulder "when the Headmistress told us to mind our own business. I saw Ginny come in and Dean leave."
Each of them speculated what happened. Dean and Ginny had dated previously, and some feared he tried to restart their relationship when Ginny didn't want to. Most if not all could see she and Harry were meant to be together.
"If I see him I will ask. Lavender is at St. Mungo's Hospital. Poppy said it is OK for me to apparate now so I am leaving if you don't need me" Seamus stated.
"When you get the chance please let us know how she is and that we are thinking about her" Hannah Abbott told him as he left. She was sitting next to Neville and subconsciously slid closer to him. Lavender had been attacked by the werewolf Fenrir Greyback and was saved by Professor Trewany and Hermione.
"Thanks I will" Seamus responded.
"All right then. I see Dennis Creevy isn't here. Has anyone seen him?" asked Neville, taking charge of the impromptu Meeting.
"He left with his family and Colin's body" said Ernie McMillan quietly.
"We shouldn't disturb George either. Right now he is with Angelina. Alicia, Lee, and Oliver promised Mr. and Mrs. Weasley to stay with him" Anthony Goldstein added.
"So how is everyone else feeling? Do any of you need to go and see Poppy?" asked Neville. Each shook their head no.
"Neville what about you?" Hannah asked. Sitting next to him she could see the burns around his neck he was hiding with his Gryffindor scarf.
"This just stings a little bit" he said gesturing to the scorch marks on the back of his head where his hair used to be. "Poppy told me it will eventually grow back. Actually it is feeling better right now."
As he spoke Neville was looking down and didn't notice Hannah waving her wand over his head. Cho Chang, Terry Boot, and others were smiling seeing how taken Hannah was with him. Hannah had left for part of this year because of the stress, but returned to fight with many others when notified by her special DA coin.
"Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron went for a walk. They promised to be back soon. While we are waiting we can be helping here. Does anyone have to leave right away or do you have a little time?" he wondered.
The DA members whispered amongst themselves. "Neville I know we all want to check on our families soon. What did you have in mind?" Cho Chang wondered.
"Until the Order Meeting ends I think we can help out here. My first concern is with the students. Make sure things are fine in here. My Gran was asked to keep an eye on things so we can go to her with any questions. Also I want to check the surrounding hallways and classrooms. I can see some sneaking away to hide by themselves" he replied. "But we won't wander too far. Right Gran?"
Augusta and Kreacher had walked up behind him as he was talking. Across from him was Susan Bones was looking over his head at something else so he guessed it was her. "Neville I like your ideas. Keep everyone together, especially because we don't know what happened to the last of Voldemort's Army. Every rock will need to be turned over to search for them."
Kreacher levitated several trays of sandwiches and pumpkin juice to their table. "The Headmistress requested all to eat. After that Kreacher will ask the House Elves to also search for students. Some may be injured or as Master Longbottom said wish to be alone in their grief. Unfortunately we cannot allow them the luxury of this. As Mistress Longbottom said Voldemort had an unknown number of allies who could be anywhere. I believe the term 'constant vigilance' is still in effect." He and Augusta moved off to the next table.
* * *
"Everyone thank you for coming. We hope to make this brief. I know that everyone is tired. Kingsley do you have a final list of casualties?" Minerva asked.
"Yes. 50 dead on our side. Over two hundred wounded. Most of which were treated here. Several dozen of the most serious were taken to St. Mungo's. Nearly a hundred of Voldemort's army dead, including the Giants and the acromantulas. The dementors are gone. Another 60 to 70 captured and are being held in the dungeons. Unfortunately Voldemort did not leave a list of who was here so we have no way of knowing how many escaped after Harry killed him" replied Kingsley.
"Speaking of Harry where did they go?" inquired Professor Flitwick.
"He, my daughter, Hermione, and my son Ron had something to do. 'One final thing' I believe is what he said" responded Arthur Weasley.
"I wish I knew where they were all that time! I was so scared for them" added Molly Weasley.
"I do not know all the details myself" they heard a voice say. Headmaster Dumbledore was visiting his portrait kept in the Conference Room.
"Now that this is over Albus can you tell us what they were doing and why?" his brother Aberforth asked.
Albus Dumbledore regarded his brother's question. It was the first time in decades they had spoken. Not since their sister Ariana's death. He pondered what to say without revealing too much. "All of you know they were on a mission. I began this several years ago and I came across some very disturbing things. I knew in order to defeat Tom we had to destroy a number of magical items. The problem was we did not know where they were, or for that matter what they even were. Yes I had my suspicions but I knew this would be difficult."
"Then Albus why were those three involved if this was so hard? Why didn't you do it yourself?" demanded Molly. She was still mad at him for sending 'her' kids out there.
"For several reasons. First I was dying. One of these objects had cursed me and only with Severus' help did I gain a few more months. Another was the prophesy concerning Harry. It foretold him being the one to defeat Tom Riddle" replied Albus.
"But they are children Albus not grown adults!" Molly railed.
"Did you see what your 'children' were doing in the Great Hall Molly? Arthur? Some of Tom's strongest Death Eaters were taken out by them! The DA, who were trained by Harry, Ron, and Hermione accounted for themselves better than most of the Aurors" responded Albus. "That was the key to this. Harry alone could not do it. He needed the help of all three to succeed."
"All three? Do you mean my daughter too?" Arthur wondered.
"Yes. Absolutely. Harry needed his best friends with him to avoid the pitfalls and to help solve the problems as they arose. But he also needed your daughter. He knew she could not go and he agonized over it. No he needed her here and safe. She was his lifeline. The one worth fighting for, the one worth coming back to. I am afraid had she gone along and something happened to her we would have lost him. And the mission. None of us would be here right now."
The Order and the Hogwarts Staff wondered what else Albus was not saying. He always loved to say things without revealing anything. "When they return do you believe they will share what happened?" asked Professor Slughorn.
"With time yes. As curious as we all are we must not push them too hard. I can only guess the horrors they witnessed this year. I suspect they will share it in pieces with the understanding that it not be put in any report or discussed with anyone else" Albus commanded. He remembered Harry bursting into his old Office and using the pensieve in the middle of the night. When it was over he saw Albus staring down at him. Harry opened his mouth to say something but decided not to. Instead he nodded and left leaving Albus to silence the other portraits and swear them to secrecy, promising to tell no one about Harry's visit.
"All right then. I agree Albus. When they wish to talk we will listen. One final note Arthur I know Grimmauld Place was compromised. I tried to go there myself. Are you taking Harry and Hermione in or should we make other arrangements?" Kingsley asked.
"They are Family. We wouldn't want them to go anywhere else" replied Arthur.
At that moment Kreacher appeared. "Excuse me for interrupting but Mistress Longbottom has asked the House Elves to prepare some food. Would you like Kreacher to deliver some?" He saw the Headmistress nod so he snapped his fingers and platters appeared with the identical food being served outside.
"Thank you Kreacher. And thank you too for what you, the centaurs, and all the friends and families who arrived did" replied Kingsley.
"Minister it was because of Mistress Granger and Master Weasley. We had retreated into the kitchens in fear. However when Master Weasley expressed his concerns for us we realized Master Harry was not alone in his caring and respect. This helped us to overcome our fears and do the right thing, as Master Harry says."
"Fantastic! One question before you return to help Augusta. When was the last time you were at #12 Grimmauld Place?"
"Minister it was shortly after they left. The Death Eater Yaxley was accidentally let in. I forced him to leave but could not prevent him from returning" responded Kreacher who looked for something to hurt himself with.
"Kreacher would Harry want you to hurt yourself right now?" gently asked Minerva.
"Headmistress Kreacher does not believe Master Harry or Mistress Ginny would wish that."
Arthur caught the sidelong look from his wife but chose not to acknowledge it. 'Mistress Ginny? Does Kreacher know something we don't? The House Elves have ways of seeing things that we can't.'
"Kreacher not today but when you have time please go back there and see what damage there is. If you feel you need help please ask for it. I went there myself this winter but was attacked and barely escaped. No offense Molly but I believe at some point Harry will want to go there and maybe eventually live in it" Kingsley requested.
"I'm sorry Kingsley but I cannot allow Harry to move there! It's too dangerous!! yelled Molly.
"Harry, Hermione, and Ron are of age now" Arthur told her as gently as he could. "And soon Ginny will be too. The four of them have matured since the wedding. In my mind much too early but we have to accept this has happened. I'm sure they will gratefully accept our invitation to come to the Burrow but sooner than we want they will move out. No it's better to have this happen on good terms with us supporting them."
"I know Arthur. I remember our parents telling us we were too young to be getting married too. But living together at their age I cannot and will not allow!!" she stated getting madder as her husband tried to calm her down.
"Mistress Weasley no one likes to be told what to do. And Kreacher will not do this now. But if Master Harry decides to move back along with whoever he chooses since it is his home then Kreacher will welcome them and care for them too. Remember it is a very large house." He waited for a moment locking eyes with the Weasley Family matriarch and disappeared.
"Talk about devoted Molly! No I think you have nothing to fear if and when they move in" Minerva added as she grabbed a sandwich. "Kingsley I can't remember just how big is that house."
"Three floors plus the basement kitchen. A half a dozen bedrooms, so an Army could move in" he replied. Arthur nodded grateful for Molly being reminded they would each have their own bedroom.
"Have the Mortuary Witches finished their tasks?" asked Professor Trewany. It was the first time she had spoke since the Battle. Seeing one of her favorite students attacked had caused her to retreat into herself. "Do I need to help them get the dead prepared for their final journey?"
Everyone stopped eating as they thought about their friends and loved ones lost. "Sibyl I believe we can leave them to their jobs. The Death Eaters and Voldemort's sympathizers were transported away to an undisclosed location for cremation and burial. Kingsley and I disposed of Voldemort's body, and only a few remain to be taken home" responded Minerva. She placed her hand over Molly's who was sitting next to her, mourning her son Fred's loss. "Do you have a date set up yet?" she gently asked.
"Four days from now. We will owl you with the time" Arthur woodenly replied.
"Then let us finish things here. As you may suspect the Castle is in shambles. Hogwarts has the ability to repair herself, but this may be beyond her. Anyone who has some spare time would be appreciated" replied Minerva.
"Many students will help especially if the DA is involved" replied Professor Flitwick.
"Filius if I know Augusta's son they probably already are" laughed Minerva. "Arthur you should have seen him, your daughter, and the others. I have never been prouder of my students. Every chance they got they disrupted the Carrows and Voldemort's 'disciples' as they called themselves."
"When Ginny came home for the Holidays she didn't talk much. We guessed at the time it had to do with her missing Harry. All three of them actually. She did not want to talk about school so we let her be" Arthur stated.
"I know very little myself. The Headmaster showed very little emotion. The Carrows on the other hand were constantly mad. Very few escaped detention unless you were a Slytherin" said Minerva.
"Time and again I discussed this with them. I even suggested they cannot serve Lord Voldemort if they are hurt or worse! They laughed and told me the ones they were singling out would never surrender so the only use for them was as curse practice for the 'disciples'. No matter if they did not survive! And it was to instill fear in the rest to behave" Professor Slughorn quietly told everyone.
"You see Kingsley this is why they cannot move out! They need the safety of the Burrow!!" Molly said as she started in again. She was determined 'her children' remain in their home until it was safe, which in her case meant for years. "You don't know what it is like to lose a child!!"
Arthur flinched trying not to yell at his wife. Hestia Jones, who was sitting across from him, saw his face contort trying to compose himself. "Molly we need to accept they are growing up. Also Harry and Hermione even though we love them technically aren't ours so we cannot force them to do anything."
"Arthur Septimus Weasley IF I FORBID THEM FROM LEAVING THEN THAT IS THE WAY IT IS!!! DON'T YOU DARE TRY TO TELL ME I CAN'T" Molly screamed.
Kingsley was both shocked and saddened at the fight taking place before him. He knew Arthur was aware of his family and the circumstances of why they were in America not here.
"Kingsley how are Darius and Bonnie now? What year are they at Salem? Fifth or Sixth?" wondered Minerva.
"Sixth Minerva" he replied grateful for Minerva's attempt to change the subject. "I didn't tell you but when I first fled the Ministry I made a port key and went to see them. Just to make sure they were all right. Arthur I guess I should turn myself in first thing Monday morning for making an unlicensed port key."
"Boss we can do that right now if you like. Now if I could just find my quill." Arthur began to check his pockets for a quill when he knew he had one right in front of him. All but Molly laughed at this. The reminder that Kingsley did indeed have children went right over her head she was so focused on her anger.
"Kingsley are they coming to visit this summer? I haven't seen them in what, three years?"
"Four Pomona. Their Mother didn't want them to travel and I couldn't blame her. Fortunately Bonnie has her Mother's good looks not her old man's" he joked. He waited to continue to give Molly a chance to speak but she was totally oblivious to the conversation. "You should see how tall they are! Apparently they passed up their Mother sometime last year."
"If I remember the last time I saw them Bonnie wanted to teach Charms. She is very gifted in that. But Darius is too full of mischief like his old man" Professor Flitwick added.
"Sounds like a perfect Auror Kingsley!" chuckled Arthur.
"In America they offer a class explaining their Ministry. It lasts for 1/2 year with an overview and then the second half being more specialized. Darius took the class one year early to get a jump start on a Ministry job. He didn't tell his Mother he applied for an internship position at there. I hope to convince him now that Voldemort's gone to transfer here."
"Good luck with that!! I remember how stubborn Jeanne can be." 25 years ago Kingsley Shacklebolt first met Jeanne Craig in Minerva's Transfiguration class. They hit it off immediately and were married a few years after graduation. Why Molly didn't remember attending her cousin's Wedding she did not know. "But now back to business. Let's summon the four house ghosts." She along with Professor Slughorn who was the head of Slytherin House, Professor Sprout who led Hufflepuff House, and Professor Flitwick who headed Ravenclaw House stood and tapped their chests three times with their wands. Moments later Sir Nicholas appeared in front of Minerva, the Fat Friar with Pomona, the Grey Lady with Filius, and the Bloody Baron with Horace.
"On behalf of Hogwarts we want to thank you for marshalling the rest of the ghosts to help defend Hogwarts. And for escorting the Trio safely here" Minerva told them once they arrived.
"Headmistress we were glad to help. Hogwarts is our home too" the Bloody Baron replied.
"How may we assist you?" the Grey Lady inquired.
"Lady we must search the Castle to find any wayward students. Some might still be in hiding not knowing the fighting is over. Plus the Death Eaters may have sabotaged the Castle to prevent Hogwarts from repairing herself" Filius responded.
"The House Elves will also be participating in the search. Between all of you we hope to cover the entire Castle today. As you look please examine the building also. The Giants made huge holes to let the acromantulas in. Sadly I saw many destructive curses used. We don't want anyone to get hurt simply by walking down a corridor" stated Horace.
"We will assemble the other ghosts to make sure none get missed. Should we send the uninjured students here and the rest to the infirmary?" asked the Fat Friar.
"Please" responded Minerva. "We will let Poppy know she may receive more injured students. Does she still have help or have they all returned to St. Mungo's?"
"Minerva I believe several remained so she could rest. This had to be extremely difficult for her having all these wounded. I know she valiantly saved those she could" Filius said.
Arthur and Molly looked at their half eaten plates. Poppy gave it her best trying to save Fred. Unfortunately the Dark Magic used combined with the wall collapsing on him made saving him impossible. After Harry Fred was her favorite student. He along with his brother George and Harry had beds the students had transfigured to have permanent plaques attached to them saying:
'Harry Potter was healed here ...
At least once a week'
* * *
Neville Longbottom and Hannah Abbott left the Great Hall together to begin the search in the area around them. Several other teams were made and the rest remained to help the students who had not left with their families yet. The places nearest the entrance were the most damaged and they walked quietly past them, unwilling to discuss where particular classmates battled. They chose to go up one level thinking some students might have done so either to hide or escape the ferocity of the hexes and curses which flew around them. Their first stop was the History of Magic classroom. Hannah suppressed a laugh when she saw Professor Binns at his desk waiting for that day's students to arrive.
"Professor you may wish to consult with the Headmistress. Classes are cancelled for the foreseeable future" Neville told him.
"Very well" he replied. He disappeared through the floor, which was the shortest route to the Great Hall. If you were a ghost that is.
That room had no other occupants so the next stop would be Muggle Studies across the hall.
"Hannah do you smell something?" Neville whispered.
"Yes. Like a potion got burned. Good thing Seamus is gone or I swear he was here" she replied.
Neville laughed to himself. One of his roommates was Seamus Finnigan and he was well known for burning or setting things on fire unintentionally. Wordlessly he cast a silencing charm and entered followed by Hannah. In the far corner nearest the desk was a trash bin with smoke coming out of it. Slowly they approached knowing it unlikely a fire would start itself. When they got about halfway the smoldering fire burst into flames, threatening to catch the desk on fire. He coughed indicating this was probably a trap. "Boy does that stink!! It smells like one of the dung bombs Fred and George used to sell us!"
Hannah wildly waved her wand pretending to try to blow the smell away while she held her nose. "Those two sweethearts sure caused a lot of trouble over the years!!! I wonder what they will think of next?"
Neville laughed at Hannah's ingenuity. As she waved her wand she must have cast the charm 'Homenium Revelio'. She then 'told' him 2 people were there. "We better put this fire out before the School burns down! This morning I told Harry about how we were treated. He wants to come up here himself to see what those damned Carrow's did." On the wall in the DADA classroom there was a chart showing the places on a person's body to hit them so it would hurt the most.
Standing about 15 feet away on either side were Alecto and Amycus Carrow. The two Death Eaters had been sent by Voldemort to 'teach' that year. Alecto taught in that classroom 'Muggle Studies'. It was modified by her to show how much better Wizards were than cows, pigs, and people who had no magic. Her brother Amycus was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Again he changed it showing how not only to curse your enemy but to do it in such a way they won't be killed. At least not right away.
Both were smiling. Grinning actually at their luck. During the beginning stages of the Battle they were stunned and captured in the Ravenclaw Common Room by Professor McGonagall and Harry Potter. A net had been placed around them and she disarmed both. Fortunately for them when they revived later Amycus found his knife still embedded in his boot so he was able to free both himself and his sister. Conversations were overheard as they snuck down the hallways in an attempt to leave. It was clear to them that the Battle was lost and Lord Voldemort was dead.
Near a spot where there was a pile of rubble they found a wand and decided to try and ambush some of the defenders to take revenge for their leader. Alecto got the idea of setting a fire to draw people in, and who should they snare but two of the chief troublemakers for them. Alecto had used the found wand to disillusion them, and Amycus had his knife.
'I can't believe how stupid these kids are' she thought as they got closer. Because the wand was not hers it didn't work as well as it should. Any curse like the 'Avada' one or others requiring a lot of emotion was out of the question. No her hope was to disarm of incapacitate them and her brother could steal their wands and hopefully kill them.
"Darn it!" they heard Neville say. "I could never get the hang of this one. Can you do any better?" He had tried to cast the spell 'Aquamente' to extinguish the flames. Instead of a jet of water coming out of his wand it sputtered and sprayed with very little actually hitting the fire which by now had caused the side of the desk to smolder.
"Ginny was always the best at this one. I may have to go find her if we can't do this ourselves." Hannah pointed her wand at the fire but like Neville's attempt it failed. In her case the water came out but it created a puddle which spread progressively wider and wider.
"Hannah I think now might be a good time for you to go find Ginny. I'll wait here to keep any other students out" Neville stated, trying to make himself sound as scared as possible.
"OK" Hannah replied. She pretended to turn and leave when she and Neville pivoted and shouted 'Aquamente Maxima'. Two jets of water as powerful as fire hoses erupted out of their wands knocking the two Death Eaters backwards. Alecto felt her wand leave her hand before being knocked unconscious when she hit the wall. Hannah had her wand and followed with 'Incarcerus' binding her with thick black ropes.
Amycus was slightly more fortunate. He was always quicker on the uptake than his sister and had taken a half step as Neville's spell hit him. It spun him around but he managed to stay on his feet. He lunged for Neville thinking he could kill him and finish the job his cousins the Lestranges started almost 20 years ago. But because he and his sister had slept for over 15 hours they missed virtually everything that took place. Specifically concerning Neville and Nagini.
Neville could see Amycus Carrow leaping on him. He grimly smiled thinking he could end this just like Nagini. The Sword of Gryffindor was hanging at his side and in one swift motion he drew it. As he swung it he changed his mind at the last second, turning his wrist so the flat side of the blade would strike. A loud 'thud' was heard as Amycus hit the floor his head still intact. Black cords as thick as his wrist wrapped themselves around the fallen Death Eater.
"Neville are you all right?" he heard Hannah ask as she approached.
""Fantastic. Are you OK? You were incredible" he replied as he hugged her. "That was brilliant distracting them."
"Thanks. We worked well together didn't we?" she asked looking into his eyes.
For Neville this was like an epiphany. Only six inches away were the bluest eyes he had ever seen. He saw Hannah pull him tighter and tilt her head back closing her eyes. 'I guess she wants me to kiss her' he thought as he too leaned forward pressing his lips against hers. Their kiss could have lasted seconds, minutes, or hours. To this day they could not answer that question. He broke the kiss asking her "Where have you been hiding all these years?"
"Right under your nose" she whispered as she reached up to kiss him again. They first met seven years ago during the sorting ceremony. The hat selected her to go to Hufflepuff and Neville to Gryffindor. Over the years they had classes together. One term it was Charms another it was Potions. They became friends fifth year when Dumbledore's Army was formed. Both she and Neville had some difficulties in the beginning but as they became more focused their confidence grew. Her feeling for him got stronger during sixth year but unfortunately he was too engrossed on his studies to notice her.
In Neville's case scene after scene flashed before his eyes too. Very early memories resurfaced of the times he went with his Gran to visit his parents. He was too young to understand why they did not come home. Only that they had to remain there in the big smelly white walled rooms. As he got older he learned why this was. It made him more determined to be successful so one day he could track down the ones responsible. When he entered Hogwarts all his insecurities began again. His four room mates were his best friends and helped him build his confidence. But it was the DA which gave him the opportunity to blossom both as a person and as a Wizard. He remembered spending time with all of them learning as much as Harry and the others could teach them. Hannah was there too, but he did not look at her the same way. Definitely not like right now.
Their romantic moment was broken by the sound of struggling. Alecto Carrow was awake and attempting to wriggle her way loose. "May I?" Neville asked.
"Please" Hannah replied after kissing him again. He pointed his wand and said 'Incarcerus'. Very thick black ropes, thicker even than the ones on her brother exploded out of his wand, wrapping her head to toe. The only thing showing was her nose and mouth.
"You bastards! As soon as I get free my brother and I are going to kill you!! And we will start with your Grandmother Longbottom!!!" she screeched.
Furious Hannah pointed her wand at the Death Eater. "Petrificus Totalis' she stated, causing Alecto to freeze solid. "Don't you dare talk to him that way! Neither of you are going to threaten our families ever again."
"Wow" said Neville as he pulled her close again. She was shaking she was so upset. "Hannah what is wrong? Are you mad about something? Did I do something wrong?"
Hannah responded by holding him as tightly as she could. "Neville I have wanted you to notice me for a long time" she told him, putting her head on his shoulder. He was only a couple inched taller, so they fit together perfectly. "There is nowhere else that I would rather be right now. To hear that bitch say she was going to hurt you or your family just reminded me of my Mother. You knew about that didn't you?"
"Yes. I am sorry to hear about her. When we have time I want to tell you about my parents" he replied.
"But Neville I thought you lost your parents. Isn't that what you say to everyone when they ask?"
"Yes. In some ways I have lost them. But there is more. Much more to say. But not here, and not in front of these two. I suspect Gran will be worried by now. We should get back." Neville waved his wand and the unconscious Death Eaters rose off the floor.
Hannah waved her wand and the mess was cleaned up including the water from 'putting out the fire'. The huge amount they shot at their enemies had extinguished it. She walked by the window and noticed the sun setting in the distance. "Yes it is getting late. The sun is going down. I am anxious to see Ginny and the rest of them. I can't wait to tell them the news."
"News? What news?" he asked.
"This news" she responded as she kissed him again. And again, causing Neville to run their prisoners headfirst into the wall.
"Oops" he said, not caring a bit about them. He was too busy doing things far more important. When he and Hannah were finished (temporarily they both hoped) he noticed the opening for the door and all four left.